Daily Legislative Brief from April 30, 2014
Education & Workforce
SB 1642 – relating to Education Accountability
On Wednesday, April 30th, SB 1642, relating to Education Accountability, by the Senate Committee on Education passed the House by a 76-42 vote. The bill now heads to the Governor for consideration.
The bill creates a clarified A through F and 100-point school grading system where point values, not safety nets or triggers, are the indicator of the grade earned. Under the bill, district and school grades, which would be released every year in the summer at the same time, will be simplified and transparent. No changes would be made to the current school grading system in 2013-14; however, the new 2014-15 school grades will function as an informational baseline for schools to work toward improved future performance.
AIF supports a comprehensive effort to expand economic opportunity through education. Increased transparency in school grading is a large component to making education a better value for Florida’s families and taxpayers alike.
SB 850 – relating to Education
On Wednesday, April 30th, SB 850, relating to Education, by Senator John Legg (R-Lutz) passed the House chamber by a 115-1 vote. The bill now heads back to the Senate for consideration.
The bill expands options to elementary students, expands options and strengthens requirements for middle school and high school students, creates a new middle grades early warning system to identify at-risk students, expands and strengthens anti-hazing provisions, and requires the Florida College System (FCS) institutions to establish a collegiate high school program for students in every school district in the colleges’ designated service area.
AIF supports this bill because improving our workforce through education reforms will be a key ingredient to job creation and also ensuring businesses continue to locate in Florida.
SB 1576 – relating to Springs
On Wednesday, April 30th, SB 1576, relating to Springs, by Senator Charles Dean, Sr. (R-Inverness) unanimously passed the Senate chamber. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
The bill provides for the protection of springs in Florida. Specifically, the bill provides for funding from documentary stamp revenues to pay for changes to the makeup and mission of the Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC) and requires the establishment of minimum flows and levels (MFLs) in Outstanding Florida Springs (OFSs). The bill also requires a study of nutrient reduction improvements for row crops and the beneficial use of reclaimed water, stormwater, and excess surface water.
AIF opposes this bill but supports state funding for alternative water supply projects but opposes this bill due to the lack of adequate funding to implement its provisions as well as the heavy regulatory burdens it would place on Florida’s businesses.
SB 1308 – relating to Insurer Solvency
On Wednesday, April 30th, SB 1308, relating to Insurer Solvency, by Senator David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs) passed the House chamber by a 112-1 vote. The bill now heads to the Governor for consideration.
This bill adopts several updates from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Specifically, the bill adds additional protections for holding company systems, updates requirements for life insurance reserves, and improves actuarial information provided to the Office of Insurance Regulation from insurers.
AIF supports legislation that modernizes insurance regulation and takes steps to achieve uniformity with other states, creating consistent regulations and a more efficient allocation of capital, which improves Florida’s insurance marketplace for business and personal lines policyholders.
SB 1672 – relating to Property Insurance
On Wednesday, April 30th, SB 1672, relating to Property Insurance, by the Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance unanimously passed the House chamber. The bill now heads back to the Senate for consideration.
The bill addresses several aspects of Citizens eligibility for commercial residential multi-peril policies, allows surplus lines insurers to make offers of coverage in the Citizens Clearinghouse, and increases the mandatory residential property insurance deductible offering for non-hurricane losses to $1,000 from $500. The bill also restricts the ability of public adjusters to choose the contractors who will repair a property and prohibit mitigation inspectors from paying agents to get referrals.
AIF supports common sense reforms to depopulate Citizens in a continuing effort to reduce assessments on all insurance policyholders. AIF also supports reducing fraud in the property insurance marketplace, which helps control insurance costs for businesses and homeowners alike.
SB 1010 –relating to Cable and Video Services
On Wednesday, April 30th, SB 1010, relating to Cable and Video Services, by Senator Garrett Richter (R-Naples) unanimously passed the House chamber. The bill now heads to the Governor for consideration.
The bill repeals a study by the Office of Program Policy Analysis &Government Accountability on the status of video competition in Florid. This is a study that duplicates an annual national study done by the Federal Communications Commission and is an unnecessary expense for government and for companies to compile and submit proprietary information.
AIF supports eliminating duplicative laws that put an unnecessary compliance burden on Florida’s businesses and government.
SB 1524 – relating to Security of Confidential Personal Information
On Wednesday, April 30th, SB 1524, relating to Security of Confidential Personal Information, by Senator John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine) unanimously passed the House chamber. The bill now heads to the Governor for consideration.
This bill creates new Florida requirements for various notifications a company must make in the event of a data breach. This measure was originated by Attorney General Pam Bondi. AIF and our members across all industries and areas of the state have worked with General Bondi and Senator Thrasher throughout session to find a way to provide the consumer safeguards needed while avoiding unintended consequences that create costly regulatory burdens on businesses. AIF salutes Attorney General Pam Bondi and Senator John Thrasher for their diligent leadership in protecting consumer information in a manner that is fair and not burdensome to Florida businesses.
AIF supports this important legislation because it provides clear direction to companies for handling data and security challenges in a timely and consistent manner.
SB 1676 – relating to Internal Revenue Code
On Wednesday, April 30th, SB 1676, relating to Internal Revenue Code, by Senate Committee on Appropriations unanimously passed the House chamber. The bill now heads to the Governor for consideration.
The bill updates Florida’s corporate Income Tax Code by adopting the Internal Revenue Code as in effect on January 1, 2014. By doing this, Florida adopts any changes that were made in the previous year to the determination of federal taxable income.
AIF supports the bill as it prevents Florida’s companies from having to keep two sets of books.
SB 1070 – relating to Fuel Terminals
On Wednesday, April 30th, SB 1070, relating to Fuel Terminals, by Senator Wilton Simpson (R-New Port Richey) passed the House by a 112-5 vote. The bill now heads to the Governor for consideration.
This bill would declare fuel terminals located in or next to Florida’s ports as critical state infrastructure. It goes further to allow for expansion of existing fuel terminals within the terminals property boundaries, while limiting local governments’ regulation of permitting although nothing in the bill will prevent local government from enforcing state and federal safety standards.
AIF supports terminals being designed as critical infrastructure preempting local governments from changing the land use designation. Terminals are essential components to petroleum logistics, and Florida's energy portfolio, enabling the bulk transfer of the 27 million gallons of gasoline and diesel into Florida each day for further distribution.